Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Brian J. Mihalik


News media helped individuals think about and understand the impacts of hosting the Olympic Games, enabling them to clarify or construct their own opinions toward an Olympic bid. The purpose of this study was to explore to what extent the public opinion of hosting the Olympic Games was affected by the newspaper media content to which the public was exposed. Based on social exchange theory, social representation theory, and agenda setting theory, two research questions were proposed: (1) Do different news media contents about the impacts of hosting the Olympic Games lead to different attitudes among the local residents? (2) Does the media effect on residents’ attitude toward hosting the Olympic Games differ between China and the US? Experimental design was applied in this study. Two different kinds of newspaper articles analyzing the impact of hosting the Olympic Games were created: “High Benefits & Low Liabilities” and “Low Benefits & High Liabilities”. A total of 962 residents from Beijing and Hebei Province, China, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, U.S.A. participated in the pretest-posttest experiment. They were randomly assigned with one newspaper article about the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games and the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, respectively. The difference score model was conducted to test the effect of media content and nation on resident attitude change, while controlling for the effect of interest in the Olympic Games. Inferential analysis indicated that media content was a statistically significant main factor in affecting resident attitude change. Descriptive analysis showed that the attitude change caused by the “High Benefits & Low Liabilities” newspaper article was slight and positive, whereas the attitude change associated with the “Low Benefits & High Liabilities” newspaper article was moderate and negative. Furthermore, the more interest in the Olympic Games, the more evident the media effect was. More decrease in public support was observed among Chinese participants than American participants, across the experimental groups. The difference of media effect between China and the US fell short of significance at the .05 level.


© 2015, Qiulin Lu